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[ak-nol-ij] /ækˈnɒl ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), acknowledged, acknowledging.
to admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of:
to acknowledge one's mistakes.
to show or express recognition or realization of:
to acknowledge an acquaintance by nodding.
to recognize the authority, validity, or claims of:
The students acknowledged the authority of the student council.
to show or express appreciation or gratitude for:
to acknowledge a favor.
to indicate or make known the receipt of:
to acknowledge a letter.
to take notice of or reply to:
to acknowledge a greeting.
Law. to confirm as binding or of legal force:
to acknowledge a deed.
Origin of acknowledge
1475-85; acknowleche, apparently either Middle English aknou(en) to recognize (Old English oncnāwan; see a-1, know1) + -leche noun suffix (Old English *-lǣce, by-form of -lac; cf. knowledge, wedlock); or blend of aknouen and knouleche knowledge; then a- was mistaken for ac-
Related forms
acknowledgeable, adjective
acknowledger, noun
preacknowledge, verb (used with object), preacknowledged, preacknowledging.
reacknowledge, verb (used with object), reacknowledged, reacknowledging.
unacknowledging, adjective
1. concede, confess, grant. Acknowledge, admit, confess agree in the idea of declaring something to be true. Acknowledge implies making a statement reluctantly, often about something previously denied: to acknowledge a fault. Admit especially implies acknowledging something under pressure: to admit a charge. Confess usually means stating somewhat formally an admission of wrongdoing, crime, or shortcoming: to confess guilt; to confess an inability to understand.
1. deny, disclaim, disavow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for acknowledge
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 19th inst.

    The Stamps of Canada Bertram Poole
  • Things looked unpromising, he couldn't but acknowledge, for his young client.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He was not in love with me; or if he were, he was not man enough to acknowledge it.

    A Romantic Young Lady Robert Grant
  • I have to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters, dated 23d and 25th inst.

  • And West would have to acknowledge, further, that he had kept quiet about it for a week.

    Queed Henry Sydnor Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for acknowledge


verb (transitive)
(may take a clause as object) to recognize or admit the existence, truth, or reality of
to indicate recognition or awareness of, as by a greeting, glance, etc
to express appreciation or thanks for: to acknowledge a gift
to make the receipt of known to the sender: to acknowledge a letter
to recognize, esp in legal form, the authority, rights, or claims of
Derived Forms
acknowledgeable, adjective
acknowledger, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably from earlier knowledge, on the model of Old English oncnāwan, Middle English aknowen to confess, recognize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acknowledge

1550s, a blend of Middle English aknow (from Old English oncnawan "understand," from on + cnawan "recognize;" see know) and Middle English knowlechen "admit, acknowledge" (c.1200; see knowledge). In the merger, a parasitic -c- slipped in, so that while the kn- became a simple "n" sound (as in know), the -c- stepped up to preserve, in this word, the ancient "kn-" sound. Related: Acknowledged; acknowledging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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